Well hello there! My name is Andrea and I am best known in the crafty/online world as retrohipmama. I’m usually posting about pocket scrapbooking, easy and modest outfits, hand lettering, embroidery and now – bible journaling! Shanna invited me to share a bit about my take on this fabulous new art form and to share my story. To say I am happy to be here is quite the understatement! :) I’m confident this is a place where I can be honest. so here is my secret: I am terrified of the bible. I have never really understood it and that has prevented me from getting deep into the word of God. And I’m not necessarily “new” to Christianity, so I don’t really have an excuse. God has always been in my life though, even as a little girl. At about age 5, when it was normal to leave windows open and doors unlocked, my mom left the sliding glass door open before we headed to bed and I asked her, ‘but what if someone comes in who isn’t supposed to?’ She said to me, in the most confident voice I ever heard, ‘God wouldn’t let that happen to us, He always protects us.’ And my natural response was complete confidence that she was right, and that He would do what she promised. As a teenager, I found myself in a dramatic and abusive relationship that grew me closer to God as I built strength and faith that I could get out of it. Nightly prayers for direction and protection helped me through a section of my life that is still difficult to forget. But through all of these attempts He made to bring my all the way in, I didn’t understand that just being a good person wasn’t going to get me the full power of His love. Not that he was going to take love from me, but I wasn’t really experiencing that healthy relationship with Him. It wasn’t until I was out of the house and my mom began going back to church, my catholic dad began to go with her and I saw them be baptized together that she told me what I really needed to do. She told me to ask my dearest and oldest friend, who was away at a Christian college, because I honestly thought just being a good person was going to get me into Heaven. Well, I asked and I was mistaken. So during the summer of 2000, at a church service with that friend, I stood up and gave my life and heart to Jesus. And every 20th of august, that amazing friend sends me a happy spiritual birthday note. Fast forward to a couple months ago: shereadstruth.com was starting a new bible study on Hosea and I was super interested in learning and studying. But if you recall my confession in the beginning, the words always go in one eye and out the other. I have a difficult time retaining information unless I write it down and as an adult, I am so glad I know this about myself. So, you know how God’s timing is pretty much perfect? Well, yeah, here is a perfect example of that. I began noticing photos of scrapbook type art in the margins of bibles showing up in my facebook news feed. Hmmmm…..intriguing. Women were gathering in a facebook group and sharing their art. Bible art. Sharing verses and topics that spoke deeply to them and how they were engaged in the word of God while drawing, doodling and painting. Uuummm, I clicked JOIN GROUP in a heartbeat! Since I love hand lettering and I have a ton of scrapbook supplies, I gathered up some stuff I thought would be perfect for bible journaling. After researching a few different bibles, I settled on this one: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black) Outside of buying the bible, I only bought a $10 set of watercolor paints (which I needed anyway), a bottle of gesso (which is only necessary for painting) and a $4 stamp set. Everything else is stuff I already had.
My bible arrived on a Friday. Naturally I wanted to rush home from work and was so excited to get started. I had seen a few people doodling on the edges of their bibles and knew that I wanted to do something like that. And a simple hello jesus was perfect for me. I sketched it in pencil first, then carefully penned it with an ultra fine sharpie. tip: be sure to squeeze the pages together while you sketch and pen on the edges. it keeps your marks from getting inside the pages.
Choosing a special verse for the opening page wasn’t too difficult. Even though I don’t have many verses memorized, I knew I wanted this one. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7 says for we live by faith, not by sight. This has been on my heart for as long as I can remember. I never doubted God’s presence or questioned His love for me. So I sketched and penned into the night. tip: use a piece of freezer paper behind your page to avoid marking on the next page.
There is no one way to journal in your bible. Whatever kind of medium you enjoy is perfectly fine! Personally, I do like several different kinds of art and wanted to try a few out to see what worked best on this thin paper. I’m going to share 3 with you today: watercolor // Messy art is sooooo not comfortable for me but I really wanted to just go with the flow of my watercolors and color outside of the lines (on purpose)! And have faith that it would be okay. Plus, it’s about the words and not the perfection. For this style, I placed a small piece of freezer paper behind the page so the water didn’t soak through. tip: if you watercolor over the pen marks you’ve made, you might need to pen over a few parts that get covered by the color if you want the lines to really stand out.
sketching // My next adventure lead me to this verse from Isaiah. Since strong is my one little word for this year, I had this quote saved on my pinterest board and thought this was the perfect place to finally put it down on paper. I decided to keep this one in pencil because I liked the look of the sketches. tip: be sure to erase carefully when sketching in pencil. we all know how fragile bible pages are.
scrapbook style // Earlier I mentioned that I am trying to keep up with She Reads Truth’s Hosea bible study. As I read through the study in the she reads truth app, I highlighted certain verses and words I wanted to remember for a future worship art session. Using random scrapbook supplies, I laid out my reflection of what I got from Hosea 2:19-20. Sometimes I need a reminder…and a little humor to help.
My hope is that you’re not afraid to get your bible a little messy and that you use the art you love to spend quantity time in The Word. This style of worship may be scary or weird, but for me, it’s drawing me to the words I’ve longed for but have been fearful of for years. Thank you Shanna, for creating a group that allows us to share these special experiences with each other.
I love seeing your journey and where your adventures took you!! Thank you so much for sharing your secret with us Andrea, I think so many of us can relate!! Leave Andrea a little love for sharing her heart with us today!